Since they first emerged in 2012 under their Mikron alias, Sheffield-based brothers Michael and Ciaran Corcoran have continued to refine and broaden their lush post-techno approach over a steady stream of releases on labels including Zone and Central Processing Unit. Three years on from the release of their debut album ‘Warning Score’, this follow-up collection ‘Severance’ sees them expanding their focus even further, crafting ten tracks that drift between IDM, ambient and more rhythmically-driven explorations.
More than anything, there’s a vague hint of early Black Dog (think circa ‘Bytes’) to these sheeny and enveloping soundscapes. ‘Embers’ opens proceedings with an evocative swell of ambient synths, the falling and swelling tones gradually being overtaken by a dense web of clicking rhythmics that rise up into sharp focus out of the murk, the ricocheting snares echoing out into the distance against rippling acid pulses and grainy-sounding synth sweeps.
While it’s certainly rhythmically dense and complex though, there’s an abiding feeling of serene calm that evokes a sense of smooth glide more than anything as delicately blurred synth chords murmur in the foreground towards the very end. ‘Lyre’ meanwhile gets darker and more dramatic as wordless background vocals swoop against deep brooding bass sweeps and glittery-sounding arpeggios, the precise metallic snap of the accompanying electro rhythms spilling out like reflected streetlights in a puddle, before ‘Aldergrove’ drops the pace down a few notches as glacial ambient pads float against clattering hiphop kicks, the twinkling melodic arrangements that glimmer in the foreground suggesting the likes of Plaid or Global Communication.
Elsewhere, ‘Sunken Paths’ offers a divergence out into Burial-tinged broken-beat house as airy hi-hats trail against hollow-sounding woodblock hits and brooding trails of growling synth distortion that breaks down into a dazzling cascade of arpeggiated notes, the bright streamlined textures introducing a vague undertone of icy Italo-house into the mix. As a filling main course, ‘Severance’ satisfies from start to finish, resulting in one of the strongest post-techno / IDM longplayers I’ve heard so far this year. Highly recommended.